The Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII) celebrated the completion of its pilot course with a ceremony at the Khalifa University campus in Abu Dhabi on May 19, 2011. A total of ten Emirati students participated in the “Fundamentals” module, a 12-week educational program focused on nuclear power and nuclear safety, safeguards, and security. These students are employees of three major, nuclear energy-related organizations in the UAE, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and the Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA). Sponsored by the U.S. state department and NNSA, the courses were developed and taught by NSSPI and Sandia National Laboratories and included material on systems thinking, basic nuclear-related physics, the nuclear fuel cycle, nonproliferation issues, power plant operations, radiological materials management, and nuclear energy safety, safeguards, and security.
The event included a diploma ceremony and presentations by the students of their class capstone projects, “Effects of the Environment on Nuclear Power Plant Operations” and “Integrated Safety, Security, and Safeguards.”
Dr. Michael Schuller of the TEES Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) served as the GNEII Faculty Coordinator for the full 12-weeks of the course. He was supported by guest lecturers from Sandia and Texas A&M. The TAMU instructors included Dr. William Charlton, Dr. David Boyle, and Dr. Alexander Solodov of NSSPI and Dr. Cable Kurwitz of SERC. Schuller and Boyle represented TEES and NSSPI at the closing ceremony.
During the ceremony, Professor Tod A. Laursen, President of Khalifa University, commented, “This ceremony marks an important milestone, both for the participating students, and the UAE. These students represent the fruits of an ambitious program to harness the peaceful potential of nuclear energy, diversify the national economy, support Abu Dhabi Plan 2030 and expand the competitive skills of UAE citizens in the global economy.”